Thursday, September 8, 2011

So here we are again...

Travel, my old friend.
It's been awhile.
Sure, we met in Byron Bay for a week at Easter, but it'll be so nice to have a solid, consolidated block of time together.

My adventure begins this week. T-Minus 5 sleeps and counting.

This trip has been in the works since news of a wedding invite reached my ears.

I am taking in Fiji, New York City, Las Vegas, Calgary and Los Angeles, with brief sojourns to both Baltimore and Washington DC.

I have been planning for months; working overtime; booking flights and hotels each time a small amount of money was scrimped, saved and earned. And now, the time is almost here.

Everything's booked, yes, I've started to pack;

now all that's left is the nervous breakdown before I leave.
and travel insurance.
and a hotel in LA,
and working out which cameras to take.

and on that note, I'll leave you waiting in anticipation for the first bit of news once I'm back on the road...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kerplunk and Ho Chi Minh City


I’ve hardly begun and the arse has fallen out of my trip. Tonight I got a text from Sabrina saying that she had scored herself a job in Darwin and would not be accompanying me to Melbourne. Bugger. Not quite the expletive of choice before the downpour of tears, but it is what is.
And so. Desperate phone calls to the girl and the folks, all of whom have reassured me that I will not be left stranded in the outback.

Mum and Dad were fantastic. It was absolutely lovely to hear them being so supportive, and in a way, validating my choice to spend this time finding what it is I want and what I am going to do. Mum has told me that if it’s going to be photography, I need to take photos, which I can’t do well if I’m not enjoying myself.

I completely agree. Having them offer to support me so I can continue this journey is so, so special to me. I hugely appreciate it. And so. To the new plan. Not even sure it’s worth making on, they don’t seem to be working out to well, but here goes.

And so, still unstimulated by K Rudd, tomorrow I will get INTO (not on!) a plane and make my way to Ho Chi Minh City. I have started to get excited. I am much more a traveller now that ever, and am taking my traveller’s eyes with me, as well as my photographer’s eyes. I am excited to see things that are new in a city I have visited twice before.

I am meeting up with Jackie and Mike (remember them? I met them at King’s Canyon. We had excellent chats, they shouted me a beer, we laughed as a frenchman’s swag was eaten by a dingo, and then we hung out in Alice together) when we get there. We’re planning to hit the markets on Day 1. I also would love to go to Cholon, the Chinese district. I’m a little intimidated of it, though I have been briefly before, and think having a bloke along for the ride will ease my mind. Also I think sometimes in a place like HCMC, you can become very overwhelmed by everything when you least expect it. Having friendly faces around always helps!

As yet we have no other plans. We have booked the first two nights’ accommodation, but beyond that, are free to do whatever we like until we leave. I have no idea about Sabrina’s plans, but I have been looking into catching an overnight train to Nha Trang, a beach town on the east coast about ¼ of the way up North. It’s about $21 for an air conditioned soft sleeper, and I think it’s an overnight train, so it will cover a night’s accommodation. Then lay on the beach drinking cocktails for a couple of days, before heading back to HCMC.

I would also like to go back to the Mekong Delta. Anything that will take me to markets will be ace. Markets can be the most confronting places. In my time at markets I have seen chickens being slaughtered and bled. Skinned frogs. Cooked pig’s heads. So many fruits and vegetables that I have never seen before. And some faces that I’m sure if I spoke the language, every line would tell a fascinating story. It’s also an awesome chance to try some local food, often egged on by the locals, who can’t wait to see the white girl eating deep fried [insert insect name here] or hard boiled fertilised eggs. So yes. Markets please.

And home again?

Thursday, April 30, 2009


There are a couple of distinct differences between Melbourne and Darwin. Obviously. The first thing that hits is the temperature. I left Melbourne on Tuesday morning. It was cold, raining and 12 degrees. I shivered at the airport, as my clothes were all wet from the trip between house and tram, tram and bus, and bus and airport. I stepped off the plane into a somewhat humid 33 degrees. It’s warm, sunny, and constant up here. You don’t get so much as a cool breeze to break the heat. And you can’t do anything with your hair.
Everything here is so green. Darwin’s wet season is winding down, and the city is still oozing life from every pore. Darwin’s CBD is less ‘concrete jungle’, and more a little bit of concrete fighting against the jungle. It is a small 6-8 block district containing offices, retail services and plenty of air conditioned refuges from the heat outside. Mitchell Street is noisy, though nothing like any kind of busy street in Melbourne. It is lined with backpackers, restaurants and travel agencies. It is a block back from the waterfront, which is nowhere near as alluring as it might be, due to the constant threat of saltwater crocs and box jellyfish.
The local flora is beautiful with big tropical leaves weighed down under huge droplets of water. The frangipani’s sweet fragrance wafts through the streets, the crimson flowers on the tall flame trees glow bright in the northern sun.
Small and large lizards scuttle across footpaths as you wander the city and gigantic insects that inevitably give you the fright of your life, are quite fascinating in their colours, shapes and uniqueness.
And yet there is something unsettling about Darwin. It’s not that I don’t like it; it’s just the unshakable feeling that there is something not quite right. There are the ever-present groups of Aboriginals. They’re peripheral. It’s the only word I can come up with to describe it. They seem to be on the periphery of everything.
There are the teenagers who are hanging around in shopping centres, loitering, swearing, and generally running amok. Nothing unusual there, aside from the fact that these particular mallrats all seem to have babies and toddlers tagging along with them.
Another thing I noticed today, though not unusual in itself is the presence of hurricane fencing. You know the type, the 8-foot high chain-link fences often used around construction sites. Those are used as front fences here. And side fences. And back fences. Quite often, it is flanked with thick black plastic. Not the most welcoming of facades.
The city itself seems tired. Everything seems to be slumped, as though it has reached the end of a long and tiresome period, and it just wants to have a lie down. The houses in the suburbs seem laden the stress of years of preparing for and bracing against the ever-present threat of cyclones. It is as though the constant heat and humidity have worn the city down, and it is in that moment, that moment just before it throws up its hands in defeat. It seems to be heaving a huge, resigned sigh. To what it is resigned, I don’t know. I don’t know if it knows.
It has the feel of a temporary city, not quite so much as Yulara did, but there seems, on my at-a-glance appraisal, that there are few prospects here.
And so it is not with a great deal of sadness or regret that I won’t be here for long. Sure, it’s pretty, but there is little more left to maintain my interest.
I leave on Saturday, meeting Sabrina at the airport here before heading off to a grand adventure in tropical Saigon. Upon our return to Darwin, I intend to visit the much-raved-about Mindil night market, before driving off for the cool natural pleasures of Litchfield National Park and beyond.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Leavin On A Jet Plane

Welcome back. I am officially travelling once more.
As I trudged along Brunswick st in the rain this morning, I put my hood up, dragged my bag along behind me and hopped a tram to Southern Cross station, making my way to the airport through the cold, rainy, 12 degree Melbourne morning.  I do love Melbourne.

I am off again today, up to Darwin again, to take a trip to Vietnam. I will return to retrieve my car before driving home with my Ayer's Rock housemate, Sabrina.

I don't feel anticipation. I don't feel trepidation. I don't even feel excitement at this stage. I just am. I think once I am on my way to Vietnam, I will be thrilled, and once I have been successfully stimulated by K Rudd, even more so. But for now, I am sitting at Tullamarine, cold, wet and lonely. Looking forward to the 33 degrees that Darwin has promised, and the time when the excitement hits.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I have a new home... of sorts

So this is my travel blog.
At the moment, I am not travelling. I will be again in 3 weeks.

As such, I have started a new blog, exploring the wonderful goodness that an abundance of time, a lack of money and a fresh view on life has created..

Check this baby out at

tell your friends.
I'm hoping to make a little community of sorts...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ahh Melbourne

So I have been back for awhile, and cultivating my Melbourne lifestyle in preparation for when I am back and settled.
Interesting Melbourne-y stuff I've done:

went to the Ian Potter gallery with Karen
went to the footy with Bec
got a wicked cool old Malvern Star and have started hotting it up.. next stop - red spokes!
been rollerblading
indulging in many hours of planning crafty projects
made a load of badges
went to Laverton Market! Yay!
jam donuts
hanging out alot with my girl, which is awesome
caught a tonne of trams
went to nova's comedy festival broadcast and won two double passes to shows
dinner at Northcote Social Club
drinks at the bar in the lane off Chinatown
Shanghai Dumpling
Vegie Bar

Melbourne is a city I love, but oh, how nice it is to rediscover it with fresh, traveller's eyes.
I am back to settle from the first week in June.
I will be looking for work. Preferably teaching part time, and doing something that is FUN on the other days. Crafting. Market Stalls. Art Shop. Pub. Something where I can meet people, always a big problem as a teacher, learn something, and work to live, not the other way around.

Exciting times!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

home again, home again, jiggity jig

and so I arrived, with little to no fanfare in Melbourne this morning. I had an overnight flight, and very very little sleep in 24 hours, so I took myself home to Mum and Dad's and promptly went to bed.

Very little to report at this stage.
Heading into the city tomorrow, in an attempt to maintain the travellers' eyes. Taking loads of pics and meeting up with Anita tomorrow evening, which will be ace.

Any and all advice and suggestions on ways to get through this next 6 weeks while holding onto the freedom and autonomy that I have developed and nurtured while I have been away will be greatly appreciated!!